The Concours of Elegance, presented by A. Lange & Söhne, is delighted to reveal the full car list for its 2023 automotive extravaganza. The 12th edition of the show – considered one of the top three Concours d’Elegance events globally – will welcome an exquisite array of the rarest and most desirable cars in the world to Hampton Court Palace in west London, UK from Friday September 1st to Sunday September 3rd.
2023’s show will include multiple compelling features, including a landmark Le Mans centenary celebration – which will, remarkably, see 24 Le Mans entrants, 10 winners, and four double winners (out of five in existence) roll into the Palace gardens. Elsewhere there will be a stellar line up of Ferraris, and rarities from throughout Bugatti’s history. The exclusive event will also celebrate Fritz Burkard as ‘The Collector’ with a selection of fabulous cars drawn from his Swiss based ‘Pearl Collection’. The unmissable event will include 90 concours cars. Here are some to look out for.
1929 Bentley Speed Six ‘Old Number One’ – 2x Winner
As the first car to win the 24 Hours back-to-back – in 1929 and 1930 – the Bentley Speed Six ‘Old Number One’ is considered to be among the greatest of Le Mans landmarks. It was the lead machine of five entered by the British marque in ’29, and was based on the Speed Six sporting version of the venerable 6½ Litre tourer. Its tweaked engine made 190bhp, enabling 115mph flat-out.
Piloted by Woolf Barnato and Tim Birkin, it led the team to a podium sweep – and in 1930, despite strong opposition from the newly entered Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz, it repeated its winning feat, with Barnato and Glen Kidston at the wheel. Bentley wouldn’t win at Le Mans again until its Speed 8 took the chequered flag in 2003, making ‘Old Number One’ arguably the most significant car in the grand history of British motor sport.
1934 Bugatti Type 59
The 1934 Type 59 – part of Switzerland’s Pearl Collection – was developed in answer to increasing motor sport competition from the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo. It was, and still is, considered to be both a technical marvel and a masterpiece of industrial art, with remarkable ‘piano-wire’ wheels, dropped body – and thus lower centre of gravity – longer wheelbase and supercharged straight-eight. As Bugatti’s final GP machine, the T59 is widely held to be the most elegant pre-war competition machine of all. Just six were built, and this particular example went on to take third at the Monaco Grand Prix and overall victory in Belgium.
1935 Hoffman X-8
Guests will have the opportunity to sample a truly unique motorcar, one that’s been shrouded in mystery and hidden from public view for decades: the experimental 1935 Hoffman X-8. It’s a streamlined, startlingly innovative 1930s special; a fascinating piece of automotive history, powered by a remarkable, a 60-degree water-cooled motor. It was believed to have been built entirely by eccentric engineer, car builder and automotive innovator, Roscoe C. “Rod” Hoffman – who when undertaking the project swore to take its secrets to his grave. Bestowed with honours from leading concours events throughout North America, this is the first time the Hoffman has been shown on this side of the Atlantic.
1953 Aston Martin DB3S
The Aston Martin DB3S was a desperate attempt to improve the fortunes of the DB3 model, as well as to give owner David Brown the Le Mans victory he so dearly desired. Over the winter of 1952, Willie Watson designed the car that will be on show at Hampton Court Palace, DB3S/1 – the first prototype. Featuring coachwork by Frank Feeley, it was the first Works car of 1953. It raced at Le Mans in 1954 with Roy Salvadori (running an experimental Supercharger) but was unable to secure the elusive victory. It has been in the current family ownership since 1974.
1963 Ferrari 275P – 2x Le Mans Winner
This mid-engined, V12-powered car is the sole Ferrari to have ‘done the double’ at Le Mans. It won for Scuderia Ferrari as a 250P in 1963 and then as a re-engined 275P in 1964. Ludovico Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini took it to initial victory, heading up the Maranello marque’s clean sweep of the top six places. The then 3.0-litre 250P won the Scuderia’s fourth consecutive 24 Hours victory by more than 125 miles (16 laps), setting a new distance record and becoming the first non-front-engined victor. It was also the first outright success for an all-Italian outfit – both car and drivers.
For the 1964 race, the redesignated 275P sported a 3.3-litre V12. Driven by Sicilian Nino Vaccarella and Frenchman Jean Guichet, it again it set a Le Mans distance record, covering 2917.5 miles and averaging 122.2mph. The subsequent Ferrari one-two-three marked the last time Ferrari would top the podium at Le Mans – until the 499P’s win earlier this year.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
The 250 GTO that will be on show is a particularly special, even by 250 GTO standards. The car, chassis 3729 GT, is one of just eight right-hand-drive GTOs out of the 36 built. The only version delivered in Bianco (white), it was an order received via Maranello Concessionaires for Jaguar dealer and famous British racing team owner John Coombs.
The car’s first race was at Brands Hatch on August 6, 1962, when Roy Salvadori drove it to second overall in the Peco Trophy. Two weeks later it was contested by World Champion- to-be Graham Hill at the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood. A stunning example of one of the most sought after cars in the world – the ‘Holy Grail’ for Ferrari collectors.
1964 Ferrari 250LM
With the model having debuted at the 1963 Paris Auto Salon, Ferrari 250LM no. 5909 was shipped in right-hand-drive form to Luigi Chinetti and the N.A.R.T. team in the US. It boasted an impressive entry roster in period events including the Le Mans 24 Hours, Nürburgring 1000km, Reims 12 Hours, Nassau Tourist Trophy and Canadian Grand Prix, driven by such stars as John Surtees, Lorenzo Bandini, Umberto Maglioli, Jochen Rindt and David Piper. Its later life has been spent both in action at Historic gatherings and on the show field at prestigious concours including Pebble Beach, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering and Cavallino Classic.
1965 Fiat Abarth 1000 record Pininfarina Principessa
Another gem on show from the Fritz Burkard’s Pearl Collection will be the super-slippery Pininfarina designed Abarth 1000 ‘La Principessa’ record car. With a drag coefficient of just 0.20, the 1,000cc, 100bhp machine set 9 records including travelling 10,000km at a remarkable average speed of 118.7mph. The single seater special is sure to stand out in the gardens of Hampton Court Palace!
2003 Bentley Speed 8
Bentley’s long-awaited 2003 victory at La Sarthe, in the no. 7 Speed 8, was the pinnacle of a concerted drive to put the team back on top in motor sport after a seven-decade absence. Modern-day Bentley Boys Guy Smith, Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello piloted the closed-cockpit car to both LMGTP class and overall victory, with its counterpart driven by David Brabham, Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell coming in second. No. 7 is on show at Hampton Court Palace, giving fans the chance to get up close to this historic machine.
2022 Bugatti Centodieci
Upon Bugatti’s 110th anniversary in 2019 the venerable French marque, by now owned by Volkswagen Group, created a limited-edition machine to celebrate this landmark in its history of exceptional performance and design. The Centodieci went into production in 2022. The Pearl Collection’s example – one of only ten to be built – represents the apex of modern-day Bugatti, and took inspiration from its EB110 forebear. Its 1577bhp 8.0-litre W16 engine enables it accelerate from 0-62mph in 2.4 seconds and reach a (limited) top speed of 236mph; virtually peerless performance.
These cars will sit alongside yet more exciting machinery in the Hampton Court Palace gardens, with an array of rare and spectacular concours vehicles and additional special features including the Thirty Under 30 Concours for young collectors, the all-female Levitt Concours and Junior Concours. In addition to the main displays, the event will assemble around 1000 additional vehicles, many drawn from the country’s leading car cubs, in a series of further displays.
James Brooks-Ward, Concours of Elegance CEO, said: “We’re delighted to reveal the full car list for our 2023 show, which again includes many of the world’s most significant and celebrated motorcars. The Le Mans centenary feature is set to be a real standout, with a remarkable ten overall winning cars, and 4 double winners. It’s set to be a landmark display, which we’re proud to be presenting in partnership with L’Automobile Club Ouest, organisers of Le Mans.
“Elsewhere we’ll have a historic line-up of Ferraris – including a 250 GTO, 250 LM and the 2x Le Mans winning 275P, as well as special cars from the likes of Bugatti, Lamborghini and Maserati. The curatorial team have outdone themselves yet again, sourcing the world’s most spectacular cars, drawn from the most significant international collections, to the peerless setting of Hampton Court Palace. It’s set to be an event to remember, and we can’t wait to welcome guests to the palace on Friday.”
Away from the automotive displays, Concours of Elegance 2023 will again be an occasion of pure luxury, with Champagne provided by Charles Heidsieck, picnics by Fortnum & Mason, and a collection of art, jewellery and fashion displays. Presenting Partner A. Lange & Söhne will, as always, showcase some of its most intricate timepieces.
Meet the Curators: Flavien and Vanessa Marçais
The Anglo-French husband-and-wife team behind the Curation of the Concours of Elegance were brought up in respected motoring families. The duo bring huge experience and passion as motoring is in their blood. Embroiled in collecting, restoring, racing and showing cars since childhood.
Successfully curating for COE demands an extremely high level of specialist knowledge. An automotive writer and historian, Flavien’s encyclopaedic memory for detail is underpinned by an exceptional automotive library and world-class photographic archive, uniquely in-house.
Wife Vanessa is British, daughter of leading Jaguar restorer and specialist Aubrey Finburgh. She, too, has raced and rallied Historic sportscars. Having carved out her career in the historic motoring world from a young age, working with some of the best in the industry. Flavien & Vanessa founded the highly awarded and successful GT & Sports Car Cup race series – now in its 17th season.
find more events here…